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Donald Trump includes Lil Wayne and Kodak Black among 143 farewell pardons

By | Published on Wednesday 20 January 2021

Lil Wayne

In the final hours of his presidency, Donald Trump has pardoned rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black. Lil Wayne was facing up to ten years in prison on weapons charges, while Kodak Black was already partway through a 46 month jail sentence.

Quashing federal convictions is apparently one of Trump’s favourite parts of the presidential job and, according to reports, deciding to whom he should grant pardons on his final day in office has been something of an obsession in recent weeks. While it was expected that Trump would grant up to 100 pardons on his way out of the Oval Office, in the end the list stretched to 143 – 73 presidential pardons and 70 commutations of sentences, to be precise.

Lawyers managed to talk him out of pardoning himself and family members, noting that it wasn’t clear that he was legally able to do that anyway, and that doing so might look like an admission of guilt. According to those aforementioned reports, however, pardoning people has so preoccupied Trump’s mind of late, he has been offering them to anyone he has had a meeting with – perturbing many of his aides, who didn’t believe that they were suspected of any crime.

It was reported earlier this month that Lil Wayne and Kodak Black were among those being considered for last day presidential pardons.

Lil Wayne was arrested in December 2019 after a gun and ammunition were discovered on a private jet he was using. Already convicted of earlier firearms charges, he was facing a prison sentence of up to ten years, having pled guilty to the new charges last month.

Expectations that the rapper would receive a pardon from Trump grew after Lil Wayne tweeted in October that he’d had “a great meeting” with the president. He commended Trump for “what he’s done so far with criminal reform”, and said that he was confident that further improvements would be made if he won a second term.

In a statement this morning, the White House praised Lil Wayne’s “commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks”.

Kodak Black, meanwhile, was jailed last year for falsifying paperwork to obtain a firearm. As part of a plea deal, he had his sentence reduced to 46 months. However, more recently various friends of the rapper – including fellow performers Gucci Mane, Lil Pump and Lil Yachty – have been lobbying the president to commute his sentence. Announcing that this request had been granted, the White House praised Black’s “numerous philanthropic efforts”.

And so Trump’s stint as US President ends with one of the stranger traditions regarding the US presidency, made all the more stranger by the way Trump carried it out. Technically, he still has a few more hours in which he can add more pardons to the list. And you probably shouldn’t rule out some sort of final drama before power is officially handed over to Joe Biden.



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